Ashes of Chaos (Legacy of the Nine Realms #2) - Amelia Hutchins

Chapter One

My pulse thundered loudly as sweat beaded on my brow and neck, dripping from me while I pumped my legs faster, harder. The need to escape from the monster hunting me took precedence over everything else happening around me. My body had transformed into toned, sleek muscles because of the endless running from beasts, men, and creatures alike, trying to catch me off guard to rip me apart.

Moonlight was absent in the night skies, hidden behind inky clouds that blanketed the forest into velvety darkness that made every step precarious. I ran from the hunters, knowing I was nothing more than their prey. I slid through the trees blindly, making the headlong run dangerous as my feet crunched over debris and large, jagged rocks tripped me repeatedly, rushing through the terrain.

I could smell the men, their enticing, spicy, masculine scent calling to the creature within me. She begged for me to stop, to run toward the monster hunting me, and give him what he wanted. Knox was a mountain of a man. His sleek muscles called to me, begging me to get to my knees and worship him and his glorious cock.

He’d been stalking me for weeks, forcing me deeper into the deadly countryside that had hidden enemies behind each rock and ominous shadow. Knox hadn’t been lying when he said he’d be within every single realm, no matter how fast I ran, or how deeply I dug into the Nine Realms to hide from him. Here, in this place, Knox Karnavious was an absolute power that no one dared to challenge.

I wasn’t ready for him to capture me. I still had so many pieces to move into their respective places that I couldn’t allow Knox to get to me. I’d been slowly rearranging things and forcing parts to shift. I made my way in this twisted world that was a giant mess. Not that I wouldn’t mind one night in Knox’s arms, feeling him moving within me.

Knox wasn’t just good at sex. He was a master of manipulation, twisting my body to bend to his touch. He turned me inside out and left me struggling to remember my name when he’d finished. He was a mixture of rippling muscles and sexy tattoos scrawled in a language I wanted to learn explicitly, I danced over the lyrics his body sung.

Growling sounded closer than it had been, forcing me to spin toward the noise. My foot slid through something slick, and my body lurched forward, slamming into a large boulder that sent me rolling down a steep ravine. I cried out, hitting more sharp rocks. I continued to fall down the unforgiving hill. When I finally came to a stop, I laid there, staring up at the darkening sky. Breathing heavily, I took a moment to notice the few stars peeking out from the cloud cover. This world, for all its faults, was beautiful and unreal.

Shouting started from the top of the cliffside I’d just come down, compelling me to move again or chance being at Knox’s mercy, and from experience, I knew he had none. Whimpering softly, I lifted from the ground, wincing and hissing, forcing myself to get back into a standing position while taking inventory of the injuries I’d endured.

Blood covered my hands, and my fingers trembled. I reached toward my palm to remove a large twig protruding through the skin. Gritting my teeth, I pulled it out and tossed it to the ground.

Peering down, I noticed my shredded dress sticking to a cut that dripped blood down my thigh, undoubtedly caused by the sharp rocks that broke my fall.

Lifting my nose to the air, I inhaled the male hunting me relentlessly. I had to give it to Knox; he devoted all of his attention to capturing me at all costs. I’d been on the run for months, and every turn I took, he was there. I’d even caught his scent in my sleep, as if he haunted my dreams.

I started forward again, knowing he wasn’t far behind me. If I stopped too long, he’d capture and enslave me before I was ready for that to happen. I craved that asshole like a drug and needed him more than the air that fed the cells to my blood.

I should hate him, and maybe I did, but I craved him even more. I wanted to feel him against me, to hear the beat of his heart against my cheek after the sweat had cooled from our bodies. I yearned